The search for the Holy Grail has spanned thousands of years and borne countless works of art, and that sacred search may have finally come to a conclusion inside the San Isidro basilica in León, Spain.
"This is a very important discovery because it helps solve a big puzzle," historian Margarita Torres told The Irish Times
. "We believe this could be start of a wonderful stage of research."
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The chalice in question is made of agate, gold, and onyx and set with precious stones and is thought to be the cup from which Jesus drank at The Last Supper. It has undergone a scientific dating process that places its creation between 200 BC and 100 AD – making it a viable candidate. It sits within another antique cup, the Chalice of Doña Urruca, and has resided at the basilica since the 11th century.
Torres and her colleague José Ortega del Río had originally been studying Islamic artifacts at Cairo's University of al-Azhar in 2011 when they discovered two medieval Egyptian parchments that described how the Muslims took the cup from Jerusalem to Cairo.
The Egyptians eventually gave the cup to an emir who lived in the Mediterranean coastal city of Dénia when much of Spain was under Muslim rule for help with a famine they'd suffered.
From there, the cup came to be in the possession of Christian King Ferdinand I of Castile and was passed to his daughter, Doña Urraca.
Using the newfound writings, the historians were able to confirm the identity of the Doña Urraca cup which was made of the materials described in the parchments and also missing a fragment.
The pair admit the cup's whereabouts during the first 400 years of its history are still unknown, however they say there's no doubt this was the cup many early Christians thought to be the chalice.
"The only chalice that could be considered the chalice of Christ is that which made the journey to Cairo and then from Cairo to León – and that is this chalice," said Torres.
According to The Guardian UK
, there are over 200 chalices across Europe claimed to be the Holy Grail. Torres and Ortega del Río hope that the book in which they present their findings about the Doña Urraca goblet, "Kings of the Grail," will also serve to debunk many of those claims.
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